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Infinity Soft Tipped Bolt
by Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills - Dec 2007
Gentler on brittle paint – that seems to be the latest technology push from several paintgun manufacturers. The argument is, that the more gentle the paintgun is on the paint, more fragile paintballs can be used, decreasing the chance of a bounce on an opponent.
No exception to this trend is Infinity, manufacturer's of the Legend. Their Soft-Tipped bolt is a replacement for the Infinity Legend's stock bolt. Not only does the new bolt have a cushioned face, but it is a tenth of an ounce lighter, and a bit shorter.
The new bolt has a contoured back which matches the angled cut in the rear of the receiver. The Soft Tip bolt has a different pin retention structure than the stock bolt, which can be an important point. In September of 2007, Infinity changed to a new, lighter hammer design, which requires the use of a new link-pin with a narrower bottom. On the stock bolt, changing link pins is a simple matter of unscrewing a hex-head screw from the back of the bolt to remove the pin detent spring and ball-bearing.
On the soft-tipped bolt, the pin detent spring is forward of the pin, and is held in place by the bolt's central aluminum diffuser, which is locked into the bolt with a rolled steel pin. As the link-pin is not simple to change, Legend owners upgrading to a soft-tipped bolt will need to make sure its link pin type matches their hammer.
A small flexible bumper is held in the front of the Soft-Tipped Bolt and is the key to the part's function. An ideal real-world test of its effectiveness would be to shoot progressively fragile paintballs until a point of fragility was found that caused breakage. Unfortunately, a lack of consistent fragility grading in paintballs makes such an approach impractical. So instead, paintballs of the same type were impacted with the same amount of force against the face of bolt to see if there would be a difference in breakage rates.
As the gravitational constant is, well, constant, the predictable acceleration of gravity was used to deliver a consistant impact force. Through experimentation, it was determined that when dropped from a marked height of 84 inches, every test DraXxus Hellfire paintball broke on impact with a concrete floor. From this height the test paint was dropped on the fronts of the stock and soft-tipped bolts, each mounted securely in a vise. Paintballs which did not strike the bolt face were ignored. Paintballs were dropped on to each bolt until five bolt-face impacts were achieved.
Under the test conditions five out of five paintballs to strike the face of the standard bolt broke on impact. In contrast, only one out of five paintballs broke when dropped on the soft-tipped bolt, four of them bounced off intact.
It should be noted that because the paintballs were dropped by hand, some impacts may have been more or less centered than others – however, the significant difference in breaks versus bounces and the random distribution of the impact point seems to indicate that a “square-on” impact is not necessary for the soft-tipped bolt to have an effect.
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